I.I DECAY OF THE CALIPHATE 91 succeeded Mansur, suffered a series of vicissitudes, and is chiefly famous as having been cured by Abu Ali bin Sina, the great Avicenna. His nobles conspired against him and invited Boghra Khan,1 who from his capital at Kashgar ruled over a confederacy of Turkish tribes, to invade the Samanid kingdom. Boghra Khan captured Bokhara but died shortly afterwards, and Noh, who had become a fugitive, returned. His nobles then fled to Khorasan, where they obtained help from the Daylami prince, and Noh in despair summoned to his aid Sabaktagin, who had founded the state of Ghazna at the expense of the Samanid dynasty. He readily sent a force which won a decisive victory near Herat, the battle being chiefly memorable as the first in which his son Mahmud, the future champion of Islam, fought, winning thereby as his reward from the grateful Noh the province of Khorasan : other victories were gained at Nishapur and at Tus. Mansur IL, the son and successor of Noh, was a poet of whose compositions fragments have been preserved. In reply to his companions who asked the distracted monarch why he never put off armour, he explained : They ask me why fine robes I do not wear, Nor covet stately tent with carpets rare. 'Midst clash of arms, what boots the minstrel's power ? 'Midst rush of steeds, what place for rose-girt bower ? Nor wine nor sweet-lipped Saki aught avail Where blood is splattered o'er the coats of mail. Arms, horse for me, banquet and bower enow, Tulip and lily mine the dart and bow.2 This martial sovereign did not live to see the extinction of his proud dynasty, but his successor, Abdul Malik, the last of his line, was seized by Ilak Khan, of the Turkish dynasty mentioned above, and thrown into prison, where he died. The capture of Abdul Malik took place in A.H. 389 (999)5 and this date marks the downfall of the Samanid dynasty, after a splendid though not unchequered career of exactly a century and a quarter. 1 The dynasty is termed the Ilak Khans of Turkestan by Stanley Lane-Poole in his Mohamedan Dynasties, and the Kara-Khanides by Skrine and Ross in The Heart of Asia. 3 Quoted from Browne, op. cit> p. 409.